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Musicians Step Up Arizona Boycott

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Arizona’s controversial new immigration law has divided the music industry as well as the nation. Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha is leading a coalition of musicians, including Sonic Youth and Kanye West, who have pledged to boycott the state until the law is repealed. Other acts have continued to tour in Arizona, and some are even calling the boycott misguided and unfair to fans.

New York Times reporter Larry Rohter talks about the state of the Arizona boycott and past cultural boycotts. Then, we hear from punk singer Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham and Tomas Cookman, founder and president of Nacional Records, about their different takes on the Arizona boycott.


Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham, Tomas Cookman and Larry Rohter

Comments [8]

MoNYC from NYC


This is the first time I've listened to this show so I don't know if it's John Schaeffer's modus operandi to insert his own opinions on topics but I wish he would've left them out. Or at the very least, out of the show and just shared it afterwards. We get it: you prefer engagement rather than boycott. All throughout the segment, though especially during the Rohter portion, it felt like you were using examples of past boycotts that you deemed as failures in order to conclude that the Sound Strikers are wrong. My question is: why aren't artists allowed to adopt several approaches to change the law? It doesn't have to be an 'or' (boycott or engagement), it can be an 'and' too.

Jun. 04 2010 10:23 AM
landless from Brooklyn

I lived in SF, San Jose, and Tracy, CA for twenty-five years. If the boycott means I never hear nortena or salsa again, then I am happy. Try living in a twenty-one unit apartment building with with illegals crowded ten to fifteen a unit and radios always blaring. I hate those accordions and trumpets.

Jun. 03 2010 09:01 PM

If we accept the premise that this offensive law is based in a form of prejudice, in this case probably racism, then we should choose actions that maximize contact between the prejudiced and those that they fear. Substantial evidence exists that actual personal contact with the targeted group (gay people for example) is the most effective weapon against prejudice. People fear the unknown. Greater familiarity is the strongest weapon against exclusionary policies. If Latin bands are more present in AZ, then they stand a greater chance of having a positive impact.

Jun. 03 2010 02:32 PM
leonardo aponte

It seams to me that channeling all that money & energy in lets say educational projects aimed to latinos only, may be a more successful way of showcasing how awful discrimination is when you are on the wrong side of it.

Jun. 03 2010 02:30 PM

Twenty five years ago, roughly when the boycott South Africa movement peaked, the "moderate pragmatic mainstream" was dead set against those "lefty" extremists who refused to accept the engagement approach with South Africa. Advocates of boycotting South Africa were excoriated in the American press, just as advocates of a boycott of Israel are excoriated today.

Jun. 03 2010 02:22 PM

There is also the call today to boycott Israel. Elvis Costello recently announced he would not perform there until Israel ends is stranglehold on the Occupied Territories of Palestine, especially Gaza.

Will John Schaefer mention this current boycott?

Why is a broad spectrum of liberal Americans willing to boycott Arizona for acts that pale in comparison to Israel's blockade of Gaza?

Jun. 03 2010 02:19 PM
Erica P from NJ

They can reuse "(I Ain't Gonna Play) Sun City" and just add other Arizona locales. Too bad that original anti-apartheid song was so lame.

Jun. 03 2010 02:04 PM
a. hammagaadji

I doubt this will work. Not many big name artists in this coalition. And then, [like in apartheid South Africa] you will have some artists who will say that nobody can tell them where they can and can not perform. I don't think artists as a group have the moral strength to act with righteous conviction issues like this. Money could sway anybody. Also, I don't think this issue is like the biggest human rights violation or genocide that will more likely generate more outrage and leak-proof solidarity. Quite possibly, there may be lots of artists who agree with the law.

Jun. 03 2010 07:45 AM

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